Emergency Power Generation/Storage, EMP Protection, Heating/Cooling, Handy Tools and Tricks

Kari Baba

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
First off: you can be very lucky to have a fireplace! Big advantage in bad times... In regards to your question: I‘m no expert but thinking it through maybe something like you suggested above might help a bit, but I‘m not sure how much. I would say not much.

I just searched on google and a so called „Fireback“ might be exactly what you are looking for! I guess you could redirect a lot more heat from the fireplace with a fireback into the room. If I were you I would research the fireback idea thoroughly and then I would try to build/buy the best and most effective solution for your fireplace. Looks like your fireplace doesn’t have a fireback and the way it is constructed might provide a pretty good/effective way for a fitting fireback to radiate quite some heat into the room…



Thinking about it a bit more: I guess you could even relatively easily/effectively/cheaply substantially improve the fireback by putting it on all 4 sides relatively tightly BUT WITH THE ADDITION of a heat retaining layer behind it with a material that stores heat well and for long times (like certain types of stones maybe?)!! My guess is that you could quite easily improve the effectiveness of your fireplace in that way since you are essentially creating a fire fueled heat radiator/storage that could radiate quite some heat into the room for a certain time, even after the fire has died! If I were you, I would start researching heat retaining materials and what would be the most effective solution. I don’t think that idea will cost much, nor that the installment would be complicated. I also think you could do it easily in a way that you can set it up and dismantle it without any permanent change to the Fireplace itself.
Many thanks for your response. I was looking for just such a possibility. Yes, I am very happy to have a fireplace at all. I'll do some research on these plates and at first glance it actually seems like a good way to store additional heat.

One thing to bear in mind with fireplaces in the home is that chimneys need attention. Low heat fires in particular cause creosote buildup, and that can catch fire; chimney fires are not something to take lightly. "Chimney Sweep" is still a respected and necessary profession. People who use woodstoves as a primary heat source in their houses need yearly cleanings to stay safe. If that falls to your landlord, it might not be a doable thing.
Although we live for rent, we are responsible for maintaining the chimney and chimney ourselves. I thank you for the hint. Our chimney sweep comes once a year and checks everything. Since I know him personally, I'll ask him about the hot plates to be on the safe side.
 

Mililea

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Hi @Channa

Sorry for the late reply. Your question has somehow disappeared from me. I bought the stove on the internet a few years ago. Unfortunately this shop no longer exists. But the principle can be recreated relatively easily with flower pots made of clay. There are many YouTube tutorials on this. For example this.
I searched again and found this one, but i can't imagine yours was that expensive, right? @Kari Baba


Thanks for this thread, it's really good to gather such information and prepare yourself in your options before it's too late. I had to smile a bit about the tools because I have tools from three households lying around here (as I kept all the tools of my deceased parents) and have been meaning to sort them out, but I think I'll keep everything I have, who knows what it will be good for. I actually bought an hatchet this year. :whistle:
 

Tauriel

Jedi Council Member
I can also recommend the books by John Seymour, a british farmer and author. He's been some sort of pioneer for self-suffiency and his books are considered classics.

The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The Classic Guide for Realists and Dreamers : Seymour, John, Fearnley-Whittingstall, Hugh, Fearnley-Whittingstall, Hugh: Amazon.de: Bücher

Forgotten Arts : Seymour, John: Amazon.de: Bücher

The books are also available in German and probably many other languages. They are a long time favourite of mine and can teach some interesting tricks.
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BHelmet

The Living Force
In terms of vital basics...

Before thinking of tents and stoves and such, I think many people overlook basic tools. We take them for granted, but without them, we reduce ourselves from mighty humans to babes in the woods. -And when we picture the idea of survival, I think it's probably unrealistic to believe that it will be happening out in the woods. You'll probably be in a house or building when the lights go out. Why leave? That sounds unproductive.

We also have to remember that where animals have claws and teeth optimized for living in their world, we don't. We have brains, and our brains came up with the idea of making and using tools. But if you don't actually have tools when you need them, all you have are.., soft fingers and teeth which aren't very good at doing the sorts of things humans need to do, (like cutting up wood for little survival stoves, for instance).

I am regularly surprised and dismayed at how unprepared most people leave themselves when there is nothing simpler than having a basic tool box under the stairs.

That tool box should have at minimum a compliment of five or six basic items in it. In no particular order...

Pliers. Pliers are an absolute genius tool. -They are perhaps one of the most useful and epic inventions humanity has ever come up with. They are force multipliers with metal teeth. They can grip and pull at things which could easily hurt our hands, and do so with super-human strength. And all they are are two sticks built to lever against one another. Genius! Made from metal and with teeth added, they are a formidable tool. You can pull up nails, bend metal, cut wire or small branches, (most pliers come with a cutting section near the hinge). And they are durable and cheap and easily available. You can buy a solid standard set of pliers for about $15.

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There are lots of different kinds of pliers, but I personally find the sort pictured above the most practical; "Linesman" pliers. You can pull up a nail, cut thick wire and pry open a pop-bottle top, even undo some nuts without a proper wrench. And in a pinch, you can even do some decent hammering with a beefy set of pliers, (though, you should use your basic hammer for that). Needle-nose pliers are also useful for working with small items, but for the totally unequipped among us, it's best to just cover the main bases.

A wood saw. -And not the polite kind used for simple wood working, (though that's not a bad idea), but rather the kind designed to cut through arm-thick branches. There are various types of saw which can do this. Lately, there have appeared on the market these chain-saw wire devices, like sharp rope, with handles on either end. They look neat, but I like the basic folding kind designed for gardeners; they are cheap, easy to use, and easy to store. And if you don't have one or something like it, you simply aren't going to be cutting anything down. Not having a saw is like depriving yourself of a basic super-power.

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Next up... A fixed blade knife:

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-That is, not a folding knife, (though, those are also super handy and I more often find myself using one of those than the kind of knife pictured above, however, I currently live in a world where tools are disposable, and I've broken half a dozen folding knives over the course of my life. Even good ones are simply not as strong or made to last. Anything with moving parts is bound to fail, and will not be as tough or reliable as a single piece of sharpened metal). On the other hand, I still have the same camping knife I bought 30 years ago. A good, 4 to 6 inch blade made of thick metal stock with a proper full tang, (that is, the hidden part which the handle covers), which won't break if you use it to pry stuff, can last for many years, and is easier to sharpen than a fancy folding pocket knife.

It should be remembered that a knife isn't just a cutting tool, but rather an everything tool. You can use them to prepare food and to then eat that food in lieu of a fork. You can use it to carve wood into the right shapes, to cut rope or cloth, to jimmy into tight spaces, and everything else you'd use your fingers for but which would damage them. Oh, and obviously, a knife is also a weapon. Like the pliers, having a knife is like having a super-finger with a super claw which never gets hurt. If you find yourself living in rough circumstances, not having a knife will vastly diminish your ability to get anything done.

Screw drivers.

Nearly everything in your immediate environment which can come apart, from door hinges to computers, does so by unscrewing the little threaded metal pegs holding it together. If you don't have a screw driver with the right fit, it's like not having keys to the world.

There are lots of screw drivers on the market, but I personally like the one pictured below, and use mine all the time: It's got most of the ends you'll ever need tucked in the handle, it's very sturdy and easy to swap out the right ends, plus it has twisty bits in a couple of convenient places so that you can hold it steady with one hand while turning it with the other. Professional builders will use this thing, so it's a serious tool. -Though, as with any such item which has moving parts, it's not going to last as long as a well-made single-purpose tool built for one type of screw, but most people don't need that and this one comes pretty close in terms of durability while also providing a lot of options which would normally fill up a whole tool box. Not having a screw driver when you need one is incredibly frustrating, so every tool box should have something like this. The other nice thing about this particular model is that it's cheap! $25

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An adjustable wrench. Some of the things in your life are held together with nuts and bolts. This is the tool for that. An adjustable wrench is an ugly sort of tool; they are known for damaging nuts and making a mess of things, but the professional option is to have two dozen different fixed-wrench tools which come in a big case or a roll of leather. The average person faced with a small repair job, (a plugged pipe under the sink or a bicycle seat which needs raising), just needs the damned thing to turn this one time. An adjustable wrench is your friend. They are cheap and they work. -Not nearly as universally useful as a knife or pair of pliers, they are nonetheless "the right tool for the job" when the job comes up, as it will eventually.

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A Cigarette Lighter.

I don't need to include a picture of one here. Everybody knows what one looks like. They are that useful. Instant fire on demand. Wow! Solving one of the most intimately human problems faced by our species. The standard Bic lighter is also perhaps the perfect survival tool. Virtually indestructible, reliable and long-lasting. My personal belief is that if you don't have the ability to make fire on demand, you are falling down on the job of being Human. Always have a lighter in your house, backpack or car. Even if you don't smoke. If you ever happen to be lost in the woods, a lighter can make the difference between life and death.

Other items I find tremendously useful to have around is a roll of electrical tape and a ball of twine. Its shocking how often you'll find yourself standing there thinking, "Damn. I need a piece of something to hold this together or hang that up, (etc)." Electrical tape is good, because it's water proof and grippy. And if you do any electrical work, it'll stop you from shorting wires or zapping things.

A hammer and a box of 1" nails. (What are you going to tie that string to for your improvised clothes line?)

Okay... So that's my not at all fancy list of basic items everybody should have. If you find yourself alone and in tough circumstances, not having these tools can really make life difficult.

I'll end this little list with a fancy fun treat item:

Expensive and by no means necessary, (since all those other tools can do the job better) but actually really useful and nerdy for all the random little jobs which come up, (I have one in my back pack at all times for odd jobs here and there, and consequently use it more often than all those other tools combined) is this thing:

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It even has a wood saw capable of cutting through a two by four!

Now, while I wouldn't ever advise against having one of these cool tools, when it comes down to an actual problem or protracted bit of work, it's always better to use a proper saw, (for cutting branches), or a proper screw driver, (for installing that shelf) etc. A multi-tool like the one pictured above is just if you're too lazy to go get your tool box and the problem needing solving happens to be right in front of you. For people who are handy and whose lives regularly put them in places where odd problems come up, (garages, fishing trips, etc.), then this is a great little tool.
Awesomeness. The “guy” joke in The USA is that you can fix anything with duct tape so I would include that too. Along with an assortment of screws and nails including some hefty sinkers. A drill is another secondary key item. I am scouring the local garage sales for old school non-power tools. But perhaps the solar rigs can charge a battery powered drill?

Part of the process is to imagine the what-ifs. If there is no power and a strong wind knocks down a tree branch that damages your shelter, then what? Or a picture window gets busted? These are not far fetched scenarios. A big plastic garbage bag and even some cardboard with the duct tape can do wonders. Think third world!
 

Mililea

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Awesomeness. The “guy” joke in The USA is that you can fix anything with duct tape so I would include that too. Along with an assortment of screws and nails including some hefty sinkers. A drill is another secondary key item. I am scouring the local garage sales for old school non-power tools. But perhaps the solar rigs can charge a battery powered drill?

Part of the process is to imagine the what-ifs. If there is no power and a strong wind knocks down a tree branch that damages your shelter, then what? Or a picture window gets busted? These are not far fetched scenarios. A big plastic garbage bag and even some cardboard with the duct tape can do wonders. Think third world!
I can only agree with that. For example, I always take industrial tape and cable ties with me on holiday, as my husband is a wheelchair user, we have been able to use them for many repairs. Things like that are essential.
 

Yupo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Yes, make an assumption that help might not be coming for a while. Be prepared to patch or tarp a roof, put down a fire, hole up with extra blankets and food, have alternative sanitation (if plumbing fails) and have some self/home defense plans. Having a way to remove unusual snow loads from roofs could save your house from catastrophe.
 

Tycho

Jedi Master
We regularly discussed the topic of power generating devices with my cousin and a friend who deposited a patent 3y before on a steerling-type engine/oven that produces +/- 1kw and who is at this moment working on a new patent.

Interesting. I had been researching sterling engines recently but could not find a working one for sale. There seem to had been a lot of startups working on sterling engines like 10 to 15 years ago but they all seem to have gone bankrupt. A sterling engine would be the best solution for converting solar energy into electricity and could also run on by just heating up a tank with wood or dried coconuts, in our case. Besides this the solar power system heating up a "heat transfer fluid" can be made 100% DIY.

My idea hat been to make a couple of solar collector like explained here and power a sterling engine with it. Anyone knows a sterling engine for a solar collector setup?
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And a more general question, which seems logical to ask : is it worth it to spend one's time & energy on such researches now ? I mean, from the latest conversations/transcriptions with C's, are we near the 3D to 4D passage ? If it's "soon", best then is to do with what we have and stop searching on innovations (generally spoken) - this is what i'm wondering. I would say it's a good question, to determine the time when it's over to make researches but time to prepare oneself with what we have/know/gathered.

The C's can be off by decades and they said that even if "the wave is here things go were slowly" on this plane of existance. So we could still have 20 to 40 years. Or more.
 
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zak

The Living Force
What follows is an entrechat.
The old-timers used to warm themselves with their animals, especially in the countryside.
The simplest thing is often what is left on our backs in the end, so in addition to blankets and other warm clothes, I have a little furry trick that works like a charm against winter draughts.
Check it out and it purrs too:

Shadowp.jpg !
 

PERLOU

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
ZAC je dors avec mes deux petits Yorks contre moi et souvent aussi 2 ou 3 chatonnes, oui ce sont des chaufferettes si agréables et réconfortantes...

ZAC I sleep with my two small Yorks against me and often also 2 or 3 kittens, yes they are so pleasant and comforting warmers...
 

Channa

Jedi
FOTCM Member
@Channa does your backyard get any sun ? solar cooker designs - Google leit
solar cookers may be a go if you do get sun
if not or its raining
yes pressure cookers are brilliant too
or a strawbox ( use a wool blanket /feather doona if you can't get straw)
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A haybox, straw box, fireless cooker, insulation cooker, wonder oven, self-cooking apparatus, norwegian cooker or retained-heat cooker is a cooker that utilizes the heat of the food being cooked to complete the cooking process. Food items to be cooked are heated to boiling point, and then insulated.
 

Kari Baba

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
First off: you can be very lucky to have a fireplace! Big advantage in bad times... In regards to your question: I‘m no expert but thinking it through maybe something like you suggested above might help a bit, but I‘m not sure how much. I would say not much.

I just searched on google and a so called „Fireback“ might be exactly what you are looking for! I guess you could redirect a lot more heat from the fireplace with a fireback into the room. If I were you I would research the fireback idea thoroughly and then I would try to build/buy the best and most effective solution for your fireplace. Looks like your fireplace doesn’t have a fireback and the way it is constructed might provide a pretty good/effective way for a fitting fireback to radiate quite some heat into the room…



Thinking about it a bit more: I guess you could even relatively easily/effectively/cheaply substantially improve the fireback by putting it on all 4 sides relatively tightly BUT WITH THE ADDITION of a heat retaining layer behind it with a material that stores heat well and for long times (like certain types of stones maybe?)!! My guess is that you could quite easily improve the effectiveness of your fireplace in that way since you are essentially creating a fire fueled heat radiator/storage that could radiate quite some heat into the room for a certain time, even after the fire has died! If I were you, I would start researching heat retaining materials and what would be the most effective solution. I don’t think that idea will cost much, nor that the installment would be complicated. I also think you could do it easily in a way that you can set it up and dismantle it without any permanent change to the Fireplace itself.
Here's an update on the fireback:

Thank you @Cosmos for your great tip. I would never have thought of this possibility on my own. So thanks again for that. I have found a German supplier of antique cast iron firebacks. I received very competent advice because I had to find the right size. Such a cast-iron plate must also be specially attached to the rear wall. I was also able to order all the accessories for assembly there.

I was very lucky because I found a matching fireback that was the perfect size. In addition, there is the unbelievably low price of 245 euros. The fireback is incredibly well preserved with no obvious damage or wear. It is from the 17th century. The coat of arms is that of the Bourbons and Kings of Navarre. I just think it's beautiful and I'm very happy with it. 🥰 Assembly was a challenge. The part weighs 77 kg! But we did it.

Aesthetics aside, it retains a lot of heat - more than I thought it would. Thanks to the fireplace grate that I also bought, the wood burns much more efficiently, so that I now only need half the material. In any case, a very useful purchase.
 

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Jones

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Just saw this video that uses a car alternator and a small 220 watt engine to produce power. Would this actually work?

 
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